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Tal Ben-Shahar's "Being Happy"

A positive psychology book teaching ways to lead a happier richer life without being perfect.

Lauren Cornwell

on 12 May 2011

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Transcript of Tal Ben-Shahar's "Being Happy"

Being Happy Tar Ben-Shahar, Ph.D. Perfectionist vs. Optimalist What Is The Best Possible Life We Can Live? Rejects Failure
Rejects Painful Emotion
Rejects Success
Rejections Reality Accepts Failure
Accepts Painful Emotion
Accepts Success
Accepts Reality In essence, the perfectionist rejects what doesn't coincide with their destined "plan" while the optimalist accepts making the best of every situation. Failure It's important to note that no one person is 100% Perfectionist nor 100% Optimalist. Think of it as a continuum and we fall somwhere in between with varying degrees of each type. The path of a Perfectionist when meeting goals is straight and doesn't include failure. The Optimalist realizes that failure is an inevitable part of the journey. The Perfectionist constantly lives in fear of failure and tend to run from challenges that may lead to failure. While the Optimalist doesn't like to fail, they undertsand that failing is how they learn to succeed For a Perfectionist all that matters is the outcome of the journey, what they achieve at the end. Optimalist appreciate the journey and what they learned from it, they are able to enjoy the here and now. Perfectionist's tend to live in a world of extremes. Things are black and white, good or bad, without gray areas. In comparison the Optimalist is able to find accomplishment in less than perfect situations. Perfectionists are by nature faultfinders and often harsh on both themselves and others. Optimalist's while registeristing faults don't focus on them and are able to find the good. They also tend to have more compassion for themselves and others. Perfectionist Optimalist Consequences of Perfectionism Increased Rates of Depression
More Likely to Aquire Eating Disorder
Increased Anxiety
Low Self Esteem
Learn From Our Failures
Use Our Time Effectively
Apply the 20/80 Principle
Enjoy The Journey
As a culture we have generally been taught to supress our emotions. This is the standard that the Perfectionist lives by. Accepting Emotions The more we suppress and emotion the more it intensifies we can't let it go. You have to truely accept your emotions, conceding to them can't ssimply be the means to an end. Using paradoxical intentions is the key. In order to releive ourselves of painful emotions you have to let yourself feel it. Further induce the emotion and as it freely flows through you it weakens. The is the approach of the Optimalist. Success Perfectionist Optimalist The Good Enough Life:

This approach to success is when you identify the areas of your life in which success is most important. One must then decide what is good enough in each of the areas. It's also important to be a "serial monogoamist", focusing on one thing at a time and really being present in what you are doing. Many Perfectionists can't appreciuate their success. They never seem satisfied by their accomplishments. By keeping track of what you are grateful for you are most likely to appreciate the success you have. Always remind yourself what you are grateful for. Expressing our gratitude for others also helps to increase well-being. Accepting Reality The Perfectionst belives that human nature can be improved, perfected. However, the Optimalist realizes that human nature has constraints. To them nature isn't about change but acceptance. Applications Optimal Education Educational risks and pressures often manifest as perfectionsim. After all who have we been taught is more likely to get the golden college acceptance letter, the student who explored and tried but made a few errors along the way, or the student who planned for success without challenge and has the flawless transcript. Comment free periods are neccesary to ensure work and play in which no praise or criticism is offered. One should strive for a growth mind-set. One where they realizes that their intelligence, physical competence, personality, and interpersonal skills can grow and change with effort. Optimal Work It is important to accept failure as a part of life and then learn from the mistakes you made. The Perfectionist "plays not to lose". The Optimalist "plays to win" Perfectionists tend to micromanage so they can eliminate the possiblity of failure from his or her subordinates. The Optimalist has more contorl over subordinates when it is necessary but realizes that they must relinquish control sometimes as well. Hard work is important but you have to know when to stop before you burnout. You have to be smart about the way you work in order to do what is healthy for you. If burnout does occur then it is important to take the time to recover both physically and emotionally. It is often a great time to reevaluate how you work and find your potential. Recovery includes getting sleep, taking time off, alternate between work and rest. Make time for recovery at least once a week. Optimal Love Finding real love comes when the perfect love dissolves and the partners become aware of eachothers flaws and imperfections. Real love comes from the acceptance of the flaws. Perfectionist almost never intiate relationships because they are afriad of being rejected, essentially failing in love. Conflict in relationships is unavoiable and is neccesary for the long term stability of relationships. This is ture despite the Perfectionists idea that the relationship should be harmonius ("honeymoon") in order to be perfect. By refusing to accept criticism Perfectionists often misss chances to gain insight into themselves and grow from it. Help-meet relationships are important because when partners challenge one another it helps them attain greater heights. In relationships, by confonting issues and working to resolve them you strengthen the partnership and grow individually. Ten Meditations 1. Real Change

Know what you want to change and want to keep. Find what traits of perfectionism you wish to retain and focus on changing the ones that make you feel anxious or upset. 2. Cognitive Therapy Using PRP Process. Give yourself PERMISSION to be human, RECONSTRUCT the situation, and gain a wider PERSPECTIVE. 3. Imperfect Advice When you are listening turely listen to people. It is through empathy for another person that you can support the and give them advice. Don't worry about the perfect solution. 4. A Perfect New World
Chose to build a life not centered on Perfectionism. Experience painful emotions and let yourself learn from your failures. 5. The Role of Suffering
Wisdom emerges from the experience of suffering. We must accept suffering and use it as a tool to help us learn from difficult situations. A benefit of suffering is that it breeds a deep respect for reality. 6. The Platinum Rule Be kind to others and yourself. Have self-compassion, accept painful emotions, and be understanding to yourself. 7. Yes But... Focus on the core characteristics of yourself and others. Look for achievements and contributions not for faults. 8. The Pro-Aging Industry Change your perception of reality and accept aging for what it is. Find the positives that come with age not the negatives. 9. The Great Deception Don't pretend to be happy if you aren't. The more you suppress your feeelings the worse off you are. Let the painful emotion flow freely and be aware of how you feel. 10. Knowing and Not Knowing Learn to accept that there are things we will never know. We must embrace the unknown to become comfortable with it.
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